Home Music Randy Phillips Survives Michael Jackson Saga, Leaves AEG For Greener Pastures

When Randy Phillips got the idea to bring Michael Jackson back to his fans he never would have guessed it would end this way: Michael is dead, and Phillips has been “exited” — in corporate speak– from his job as founding chief of AEG Live. Yesterday the company announced simply that Phillips was gone, and there was a new corporate hierarchy to replace him. It wasn’t very gracious, but that’s corporate America.

Phillips started AEGLive in 2002 and put it on the map. He and Tim Leiweke — who left last March — literally created AEG to compete with what became Live Nation (formerly Clear Channel Entertainment). They made the O2 Arena outside of London their beach head. Among their triumphs was the actual Led Zeppelin reunion in memory of Ahmet Ertegun.

Under Leiweke and Phillips, the whole L.A. Live center in downtown Los Angeles blossomed. What was a wasteland is now a thriving culture center in a city where culture is usually mentioned in conjunction with strep throat. In New York AEG set up shop with the Nokia Theater in Times Square.

It was at the Ertegun concert that Randy told me he’d made an offer to Michael Jackson to do 10 shows at the Arena. The offer was rejected. But a year later Michael’s finances were in worse shape than ever. The offer was re-examined. The deal was made. Phillips never conceived of the depth or range of Michael’s problems. On the car ride to the O2 Arena, Jackson was literally a mess. And things went downhill from there.

There were plenty of successes, big tours, and even the triumph of the Jackson documentary “This Is It.” From Paul McCartney to Justin Bieber, AEG held its own with behemoth Live Nation. Phillips leaves a well-armed organization for popular Jay Marciano, the guy he brought in from Madison Square Garden hand picked. Maybe Phillips will get back into management, where he was a rock star. His first client could be Lady Gaga. If anyone could straighten out that mess, it’s Randy.


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7 replies to this post
  1. Convenient omission of the fact that emails presented at trial showed that Randy Phillips ‘slapped’ and ‘screamed at’ Michael Jackson for not doing as he was told. Maybe that’s had some role in his departure. Seems quite likely, doesn’t it? But rather undermines Roger’s narrative that Phillips ‘survived’ the Michael Jackson saga. Rolling Stone called Phillips a ‘bully’ in its trial coverage, based on the content of those emails.

  2. For a second , I thought Randy Phillips mother wrote this article, it is such a pat on the back , for the man that pushed pushed pushed a fragile person , when he should have put the brakes on , after watching Michael Jacksons state, during the 02 announcements , but hey , he was a corporate soldier all the way.
    To put out the spin that he was doing all that for MJ , and not to make a ton of money for AEG is ridiculous.
    This is a TRAINWRECK for AEG..Everybody has seen the transcripts of the trial and these peoples depositions.
    The guy is radioactive

  3. “And things went downhill from there.”

    Yes, like when he slapped MJ and yelled at him so loud the walls shook, according to his email.

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